Since first tasting hazelnut and prune bread at Montreal's Olive et Gourmando, I've wondered about the secrets of the formula. Connecting recently with Marc Andre Cyr, "the baker on the go", he told me they actually aren't making it anymore.
It seems that the cafe's amazing baker's oven is gone. With the oven gone, no more for their wonderful prune and hazelnut bread. I'm sure the recipe is in residence, but it's a secret. It is so good that I hope it'll come back. There are still some amazing breads from Marc Andre, and amazing food from his chef and girlfriend Vanessa. But honestly, I loved it so much that even with the crazy heat, I was determined to improvise a batch.
In the past, I'd tried a hazelnut prune formula from Jeffrey Hamelman's book Bread, as well as another one from the French Culinary Institute, where I went to school. They're all good but not the same as that created at Olive et Gourmando. So I adapted a version from the blog The Fresh Loaf, specifically from an awesome blogger/baker named TX Farmer. While her bread was calling for blueberries, and I wanted to change up the fruit choices using dry prunes rather then bluet!
In some ways, the results resembled the Olive et Gourmando bread. But with the heat and humidity these days, it lacked the former's magic crunch that delighted in biting into its crust. Still it had impressive color from the pureed prune, and flecks of hazelnut made for a nice mosaic of goodies on which to snack. Perhaps if I had retarded the dough, it would have had different character, but alas I was out of bread at home. And I couldn't see waiting for a slice for breakfast with cheese for breakfast.